Wednesday, September 29, 2010


My first quilt square ever. I was so excited.

My first quilt top ever. I was super-duper excited. Ellerie inspected my work and she seemed pleased.

I emailed my (amazing quilter) friend Dana I was so excited. I told her I FINALLY pieced one. I bought the fabric, what, a year and a half ago? And, perhaps, I was distracted by this little happy cutie while I was taking the pictures....

...but I failed to notice that an entire section had been pieced upside-down!!! (note the strips of same size/same shapes lining up, rather than alternating).

I do realize that on one hand it isn't a big deal, but it would have drove me NUTS, so I fixed it and now?

Super excited again!
1 top down, 2 to go...

Monday, September 27, 2010


Thank you all for your well wishes and prayers. No, this is not a representation of me last week. Well, it wasn't supposed to be. Now that I look at it again...... bloodshot eyes, mouth-breathing, grouchy. Maybe it is. Gonna have to ask Mike about that one.

Really, I think I'm on the upswing. I'm still paranoid that Ellerie is not responding to the antibiotic for her ear infections and I'm currently unable to turn my head directly to the left due to some serious pain in my neck, but I'm pretty sure those things are unrelated. Yeah, I read it again. They can't be related, right? More likely it's from sleeping funny in order to gain clear passage to at least one nostril. You know, for breathing. I like to breathe. It's how I roll.

The monster (that I am now hoping is not me) was born Saturday in an "I want to draw with Daddy" session. There's a reason for it: Daddy can draw.

And now he's hung, with appropriate warning, where he belongs:

The boys' door.

Friday, September 24, 2010


Common cold?

There is nothing common about this cold. All of us hacking and sneezing and mouth breathing. Everyone cranky and tired and edgy for the first round of the season. I think we all feel rather exceptional.

Exceptionally crummy.

And my left eye. Will. Not. Stop. Twitching.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Do What You Can

Every now and again, in spite of my knowledge that it was our choice to live on one modest income and it was our choice to have three children, I get a little down on not having some of the finer things in life. Well, finer for me anyway. Things like having functioning windows or carpet, furniture that isn't hand-me-down and getting pretty beat up, and maybe being able to organize and arrange my house in a way that is more efficient and comfortable for us all. But that's just it, it's all about efficiency and comfort and desire, not need. We don't NEED anything. We can eat our fill, we have a roof over our heads and clean water to drink. We have plenty of clothes. We have heat in the winter. We are taken care of and, certainly, blessed in SO many ways. It seems, whenever I start to get this way, God sends some gentle reminders my way of truly how blessed I really am. Lately, they are coming from many directions. Church for one, where we are beginning to study this book and the blogging community where I have been reading about this group's vitamin project in Africa: here and here. And just like that, my dream for an upstairs laundry room or carpet seems sort of trivial. So I'm going out this week to buy vitamins, because the problem is big and you can only do what you can do. But I can buy vitamins. Even with my crummy windows and shabby furniture and a hole still in my kitchen ceiling. I can buy vitamins.

Blessed indeed.

Small Happiness

Sometimes, when you are waiting for the bus, and the sun catches your eye

shining on your new bedspread purchased with birthday money from the clearance rack at Target that replaced the 10+ year old comforter with holes in it,

it can sort of make you feel happy.

And almost like a grown-up.

Friday, September 17, 2010

It's Friday, and I'm Exhausted

So this is how it goes for me. I am awoken in the morning either by little feet kicking me in the back and a small voice that "can't find S.B." or the sound of thumping boy feet coming down the stairs to my room. By the time all three of them are up, I MAY have found time to make coffee or grab a bowl of cereal, but likely not both. The three of them then proceed to dance around me in the kitchen, dictating what they want for breakfast and what they want in their lunches in no particular order and all at the same time, never mind that two of them technically do not need their lunches packed. Oh, and they want it all done RIGHT THEN or they will proceed to do it themselves, which sounds nice but it's not. Keep in mind they are 7, 5 and 3 and it is generally not the 7 year old that will do it himself. Before breakfast is over, they will stop eating and leave their food to get cold/soggy/stale. Likely they will be back in 30 minutes to complain that they are hungry. Tate will ask to eat his lunch by 9am. If by some chance, I have managed to get the one lunch that I need to packed by the time oldest boy is up, he is sure to scream at me that he won't eat it because he is BUYING today before he is reminded that I am the one with the money and he'd better knock off talking to me like that or he won't have any lunch at all.

Today, after I got Cal on the bus, I managed to sneak in 20 minutes on the elliptical, interrupted after 10 by Ellerie asking me if she could ride it and repeating said request, while I was trying to read, for most of the next 10 minutes. I tried to shower, half shaved my legs and Elle was in the bathroom. Chatting away, she randomly interjects, "oh and Tate crying. He hurt his-self on the door." ACK! Is he bleeding? No. Well tell him I am coming after I rinse off the soap and conditioner. I rush to get out and, of course, he's just fine, but has started to pull out the paints and has a FIT when I ask him to wait until I am dressed and have a chance to clean off the kitchen table. OH NO. That is going to take WAY too long. I remind him he is lucky I am going to let him paint at all and will he PLEASE just sit tight until I am ready or start cleaning up the table himself. He starts, but whines the whole time that it is too hard and is taking me too long, then proceeds to have a tantrum over the tool used to hold the paint. We get that sorted out and they use way too much paint and make a huge mess and then, AS SOON as they are done, ask for food. No, I need to clean up the paint mess before we can use the table, please go play for 30 minutes. ANOTHER big tantrum. WHY DO WE HAVE TWO BEDROOMS FULL OF TOYS IF YOU DON'T WANT TO PLAY WITH THEM???? I threaten to throw them out unless they go play or they can sit in time out for 30 minutes until I am ready to serve lunch. What is the big deal with them playing for a half an hour??? Finally, they leave to "go clean" while I am sorting out the drippy papers in the kitchen. I finally get them settled to eat and leave to sort myself out for a moment and notice a drippy water mess from the bathroom across the hall to my bedroom. They were cleaning my closet mirrors. WITH WATER. Which has now made a lovely puddle on the hardwood floors. It is 11 am.

This is a normal day. I am never going to make it until they are adults.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ellerie Starts Preschool

Ellerie had her first day of preschool this morning. Yes, she did bring S.B. (but she stayed in the backpack). And yes, I did forget to take the picture until after we came home. And yes, I had no troubles at all. I love and know her teachers so well after 4 years that it feels more like leaving her with friends for a little while.

As for Ellie? Oh, I think she's sort of ticked that she can't go back until Thursday. She asked to go back after lunch.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Tate Makes Me Laugh

I haven't felt like blogging much lately. Maybe I just need to settle into my new routine as much as the kids do. We had a great weekend. Friday night we invited over three neighborhood families for a fire in the backyard. The kids all ran around and played while the adults hung out and snacked and chatted. We did s'mores and glow bracelets for the kids. We let them stay up way too late and they were good! Cal even slept in the next day, which is rather a miracle in itself!

Here is a pic (finally) of Pip riding his bike! I am normally good about the whole helmet thing, but I guess I was more concerned about finally getting a picture this time. I didn't even notice! I love that when I asked Tate earlier this summer if he wanted to take his training wheels off he said, "No. I'll do that when I'm six." Then, one day, he just decided he wanted to do it and learned with Papa Paul in an afternoon.

That's my boy.

On Friday, the kids were watching Word Girl on PBS after school. There was a character who had been eating too much candy and she was getting sick. I commented that I thought she would throw up after all that junk. Tate's response? Nose wrinkled and shaking his head, "That wouldn't look very good on TV, I don't think."

Wish I had his little face on camera saying that because it is still cracking me up this morning.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

First Day

This morning I put this handsome boy on the bus again. The first day always seems to give me jitters. Instead of feeling anxious and excited and unsure and happy all at the same time for myself, I now feel that way for them. I stood this morning, my stomach doing flip-flops, praying and hoping for them to be good and be safe and be good friends and to enjoy it all.

And then I stood and had to do it all over again this afternoon. Only this really was the first time for Tate. The first time on a bus, first time really navigating things on his own, first time without me there to remind him and gather up after him. I could tell he was a little nervous, but excited too. He'll be great. And I am not one to get teary over things like this, but my little Pip has just gotten big before my eyes. Suddenly, he's tall. Suddenly, his feet have grown a whole size. Suddenly, he's lost teeth and learned to ride a 2-wheel bike. And suddenly, I just want to scoop him up in my arms and squeeze him.

It's hitting me harder with him, in a way, and I suppose it is because Calvin was my "big boy" when he went to kindergarten and Tate is my little Pippi. My silly, hardheaded, imaginative, sweet "little boy." Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled about their growth and I wouldn't trade it for them staying still. Not ever would I want to hold them back from life. And, I don't think I'll feel this emotional about Ellerie starting preschool next week.

There's just something about that bus.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Happy Belated Birthday to Me!

So, here I am another year older. My birthday was Saturday. 34. The last couple years, I have posted a self taken birthday photo for posterity. This year my husband took the pic and I am making my signature (rather tired looking) face where I am thinking "Man I hate having my picture taken."

I am sporting a new-that-morning 14 dollar Supercuts haircut here. (I did it Ms. G!) And I must say I am thrilled I didn't spend any more. Not that it looks Vogue-ready or anything, but that is how it just dried with just a little dab of styling goop. Seriously, that's huge for me. My hair is naturally super thick, wavy and dry and frizzy on the ends. Usually it dries looking more like Phil Spector than anything I could venture in public with.

I bought my own cake at BJs that morning. I am not a big cake person, but Boston creme sounded pretty good. It was only just okay. I should have bought a pie or just made brownies. Or had a birthday bag of potato chips (Cape Cods please). Cake is almost always disappointing calories for me.

The kids treated me to lots of special drawings and coloring pages that day. And I got to go grocery shopping all by myself. My present is a trip to see Mary Poppins with my mom and sisters and nieces next month. Yay for 34!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Behind the Times

I've been putting this post off because I keep meaning to FIRST post about my big boy, Tate, who, almost a month ago now, learned to ride a two wheel bike with Papa Paul. Problem is, I want a pic with that entry and all I have is a video, which I can't remember how to shrink to put on the blog without Mike around. I can't seem to remember to TAKE a picture of Tate riding when he is actually on the bike and I can't manage to remember to ask Mike about shrinking the video when he is around either. So, there I go. No bike post yet.

Shortly after the two-wheel learning trip to Nana and Papa's, the kids and I managed a trip to Grandma and Grandpa's as well. There was a marathon of campfires, 4 wheel rides, thrifting with Grandma for the girls and building in the shop time with Grandpa for the boys.

We made it to a "new" place in the creek too for wading,

rock climbing,

log rolling,

and, my personal favorite, playing with dead crayfish!

Tate also managed to get stuck almost knee deep in a mud pit and had to be rescued by yours truly, but flat out refused to let me take a picture of his muddy self.

I have been terrible lately about taking pictures, terrible about documenting and posting about our day to day stuff. We've been playing with neighborhood friends, dreaming about future projects, reading, indulging in too much kid tv and wii games (The kids pooled THEIR money and bought one. A much happier purchase in my mind than all the sillybandz they had been begging to waste their money on). I have been doing some cleaning and purging and organizing, although it seems to be destroyed by the kids immediately after doing so. I think we all very much need school and routine to start again. Yesterday I went into work (I have been on the Time-As-Reported books by my employer for 7 years, but for a year now I have had no work) and received instruction on the new from home tasks I will be taking on. A financial blessing, but a time management stressor for me. Tate has been assigned afternoon kindergarten this year and Ellerie will start morning preschool, which means a lot of running around and no time all to myself again this year. I think it will be a blessing to have some time just with Tate though. Sometimes that is hard to come by with the middle child. I just hope I can swing it all with grace and a sense of humor.

Wish me luck; I'm gonna need it!